Kindergarten teachers get the short end of the stick.
We face the usual tropes about teaching: comments about summer vacation, the bad money, “anyone can teach” and the assumption that teaching is everyone’s fall back when we can’t do what we really want.
But aspiring kindergarten teachers?
We get looks even from within education.
I’ve personally heard comments about us spending more time taking kids to the bathroom than learning, cleaning up messes all day long, and doing crafts instead of school.
I’m here to tell you it’s time to flip the narrative.
Kindergarten teachers work hard!
We are the ones who, yes, are often taking kids to the bathroom, likely dealing with classroom behavior issues and frequently doing crafts.
But it’s so much more than that.
In kindergarten, children are bridging the gap between learning through play and learning through books.
Our classroom often looks chaotic, but it’s our job to encourage the chaos while keeping it under control.
Crafts build fine motor skills that, guess what, they will need for the rest of their lives.
Kindergarten is where you learned to hold your pencil, use scissors, and manipulate small objects.
That play time?
Kindergarten teachers are facilitating social interaction, setting the foundation for classroom behavior, and all at the same time teaching content standards to guide their students into the next grade levels.
The lessons kindergarten teachers build are just as intentional as every other grade level.
We put a lot of effort into making sure that the games, crafts, and activities we create for our students meet state mandated standards, complete objectives, and engage students.
Every lesson requires a plan for assessment, considerations of accommodations for students who need specialized learning, and a plan for classroom management.
So, next time you see aspiring kindergarten teachers working on projects in the library that seem easy, don’t mumble about how ridiculous it is that they get to do “fun stuff” for homework while you toil away on your papers.
Instead, take some time to understand their goals.
If you can spare a few minutes, maybe offer to help cut out whatever they are working on.
Or offer us coffee.
Anything is more helpful than taking us for granted.